Cyclones eliminated by Bobcats at state
In the bottom of the 2nd inning in the Class 3A Quarterfinal game, Senior Bobcat Connor Maiers scored on a wild pitch from third base putting his team up 1-0, which would be all the Bobcats needed en route to an eventual 10-0 victory over the Cyclones.
“Making it here is a tough deal,” said Cyclones Head Coach Heath Stein. “We had a tough day. We let the moment and the atmosphere get to us a little bit and we didn’t play our best ball, but I couldn’t be prouder of them as a whole.”
Stephen Leinen got the ball for the Cyclones and didn’t pitch long, lasting just 1 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on three hits and allowing one walk.
“He couldn’t find his breaking ball and that’s kind of been his bread and butter through his hot streak on the mound,” Stein said. “If you can’t land your breaking ball against a team that swings the bat like that, you’re going to have issues, so I felt like it was a move we had to make to try and stay in the ballgame.”
The first inning and a half were scoreless, but the Bobcats scored three in the bottom of the second starting with their first run on a wild pitch, Tanner Anderson hitting an RBI groundout to make it 2-0 and then an error occurring by the Cyclones, allowing another run to score.
Leinen was removed from the game and replaced by Cyclone Junior Brock Lemrick, who pitched the next 2 1/3 innings.
In the bottom of the 3rd inning, the Bobcats scored again when Hunter Quagliano was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, followed by two sacrifice flyballs making it 6-0 at the end of the inning.
The Cyclones offense could only muster up three hits, one each from Hayden Soma, Cael Goshorn and Weston Reisz.
In the bottom of the 4th inning, the Bobcats continued to add on scoring with another two runs, putting them up 8-0. Braydon Ernst took over pitching duties for the Cyclones in the bottom of the 5th hoping to prevent the Bobcats from doing so, but couldn’t as Jake Goodman came up with an RBI single making it 9-0. Later in the inning with Goodman standing on third base, Caleb Klein hit a chopper to Cyclone Sophomore Landen Kaufman at third base. Kaufman threw to Soma to try to get him out at home, but was unsuccessful.
The game ended giving the Bobcats the mercy rule victory, effectively ending the Cyclones season. The Cyclones finished their 2023 campaign with an overall record of 22-15 after starting the season 0-5, including a 10-game win streak and three playoff victories against Atlantic, Storm Lake and Lewis Central to get to the state tournament.
“It’s exactly what they deserve,” Stein said. “They’ve worked their butts off, day in and day out all summer. It’s such a tight knit group. They loved every minute of it, and that means a lot.”
Leinen and Goshorn won’t be returning due to graduation, but Stein spoke on behalf of their contributions and how much he’ll miss them.
“Two huge reasons why we’re here,” he said. “They were great leaders, awesome guys and a big part of people coming to the yard and enjoying every minute of it because of the leadership they provided and I’m happy for them and the success they’ve had and they’ll go do good things for the rest of their lives.”
With the run they had this season, Stein is optimistic about the future of Cyclone baseball.
“The culture is good and a lot of that was this year,” Stein added. “That’ll carry on in the years ahead and that’s the sign of a good program and that’s what we have.”